Feb 1, 2010

El Shaddai - Almighty God, All Sufficient One

I'm a bit late today but I'm joining Yolanda at Joy Comes in the Morning in a study of the Names of God using Kay Arthur's book LORD I Want to Know You. I am also studying from Ann Spangler's book Praying the Names of God and will share what I am learning from both.

El Shaddai is first used in Genesis 17:1 when God made a covenant with Abram to give him a son in his old age.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Genesis 17:1-2

The actual translation of El is might or power. There seems to be some division about the meaning of the word Shaddai. Some interpret it to refer to God's power in His judgments, but another definition is breasted. This refers to the power of God displayed as He provides all that is needed for nurturing, supplying, and satisfying.

El Shaddai is the One for whom nothing is impossible. It is His might or power combined with His Love and desire to care for and bless his children. Until the time of Moses, El Shaddai was considered the covenant Name of God. It refers to the One who initiates and maintains a covenant with His people as He did with Abram. El Shaddai not only initiates the covenant, but He accomplishes it in His power and not by any effort on our part.

One thing I found interesting is that it is at the time of His covenant with Abram, that God changed Abram's name to Abraham, and Sarai's name to Sarah. In doing this He added the Hebrew letter He ה which is the chief letter of His own Name, Jehovah, which produces the sound of out-breathing. Kay points out that this is like giving something of His own nature to Abraham communicating a channel of blessing to many others.

Shaddai occurs 48 times throughout the Bible, 31 of those occurrences are found in the book of Job. This is the Name of the One who sustains us.

How does the Name El Shaddai speak to me?

The first time I ever heard this Name, it was defined The God Who is Enough. El Shaddai is the one who fills my deepest longings. Not necessarily by giving me what I long for, although He might, but by giving me Himself. When El Shaddai fills me with Himself, I am filled, I am completely satisfied, all other longings fade behind the abundant sufficiency of this satisfaction. El Shaddai is the One I run to when my world is crumbling around me, when I am completely spent, and when there is no possible way in my circumstances.

But his bow remained taut, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. May the God of your father help you; May the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb. Genesis 49:24-25

"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? Job 11:7

How does the Name El Shaddai speak to you?

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Kelly Combs said...

Edie - loved this. A while back when I was leading my study we were talking about prayer and I was saying I felt so insignificant worshiping God. When I say "you're awesome," it's such a DUH statement. Like I'm a nobody telling God he's great. BIG DEAL. But someone suggested I talk to God about it.

So in prayer I asked God what he would like me to call him to worship him and all of a sudden "El Shaddai" came to me. I didn't even know what it meant, and while I'd heard it before it wasn't something on the fore front of my mind. I looked it up and found the meanings you gave.

I never told anyone this story before, and I don't think that he necessarily wants everyone to worship him the same, but for he and me, it's El Shaddai. :-)

Mrs A said...

this was a wonderful word! Thank you for sharing!

Andrea said...

Praising GOD for the words you spoke from the heart of GOD.
Blessings, andrea

An Imperfect Perfection said...

I was waiting for this!! I listened to an Amy Grant CD today - the one with her El Shaddai song on it. I love that song! I closed my eyes, felt the goosebumps that went all through me for most of the song - hands raised and enjoyed being in El Shaddai's presence. You made my night! Thanks!

Yolanda said...


What a great re-cap and the gleanings that you received from this study. I learn so much from you and I really liked this statement: El Shaddai is the One for whom nothing is impossible.

NOTHING, NO THING, ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. He simply is enough, way more than enough.


PS: Thank you for coming along side me in this study. You bless me!!

Jody said...

Words escape me as I think about how the God of the universe wants me to find everything I need in Him, my El Shaddai. Thank you for the reminder.

From the Heart said...

El Shaddai - Almighty God, All Sufficient One. I've heard others talk or preach on this name and remembered there was a song with that name, but it never really sunk into my spirit what the true meaning was. He is our Almighty God, All sufficient One. God is all we need and has the answers for all our problems. He is all we need.

Thanks for sharing,
Love you,

Heart2Heart said...


I love this study you are doing and sorry for arriving so late in the process. I have learned so much frm you today and it is truly amazing that at Job's worst, is when El Shaddai is used the most! God is faithful and true!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

RCUBEs said...

We don't deserve anything yet He desires to bless man and provide an abundance with all of his needs.

I'm always grateful to be nourished, supplied and satisfied by "El Shaddai"...Glory to God!

Thank you for this. Praying all is well with you and God bless you. Be strong in the Lord's mighty power.

2Thinks said...

El Shaddai, the One who sustains us. The all sufficient One. Yes. I'm drawn by this post- drawn to the One.

Thank you Edie.

Kathy S. said...

All I could think of is I want that in my name...
then I figured it out..

Kath(ah)leen! My sis actually calls me that! Woo hoo!

Great post Edie, God is magnified here!

My ADHD Me said...

"One for whom nothing is impossible."
That says it all.

I heard that song, El Shaddai, for the first time 3 years ago at my sons school talent show. A little fifth grade girl sang it and I immediately loved it. It is a public school so unfortunately we don't hear a lot of songs like that. it was so beautiful. her voice was very soft but also very clear and pitch perfect. You could have heard a pin drop in the audience.

Speaking of public schools (we were speaking of public schools, weren't we?), Anyway, my son is in the boys chorus. This year at their winter concert, more than half of their songs were not just winter songs, but Christmas songs. Not Santa and Frosty but real Christmas songs like DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? and OH HOLY NIGHT. What a wonderful surprise that was!

While I am here rambleing on, just wanted to say hi also. I haven't been around lately to say hi...so....Hi!!

Sue J. said...

Always fond of a good word breakdown. Interesting to note these discrepancies from the scholars about what these words mean. I'm thinking that even if they can't agree that all those suggested words describe God quite well!

"Age to age, You're still the same, by the power of the name...."